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What to Do with Codie, Vociferous Codex


In Magic: the Gathering, it is usually the case that there are powerful cards and there are cute cards, and these two don't usually overlap. Raw power level and rate is seen in the efficient cards that dominate tournaments (Bonecrusher Giant, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Lurrus of the Dream-Den), while the more amusing cards are weaker but can get a chuckle and be fun casual build arounds (Clackbridge Troll, Colossification, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain).

Niv-Mizzet Reborn
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

There are of course cards that buck this trend and are successful on both ends of the spectrum, most recently Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Niv-Mizzet Reborn, but for the most part this has been true throughout Magic's history. As such, it's very exciting when we get a new outlier.

Today we're going take a close look at Codie, Vociferous Codex!

Codie, Vociferous Codex

As a literal legendary walking book with a silly name, it's a bit hard to take Codie seriously at first, and once you see wubrg in the mana cost it feels like all bets are off. However, Codie has a lot going on that makes him applicable across many possible formats.

Mana Cost: 3

At three mana Codie falls into that real middle ground for an enabler.

Mind Stone
Trail of Crumbs

Two mana (or one if possible) is the sweet spot for any enabler, as it comes down soon enough to often be the first thing on the board. This is important for enablers because they often don't directly affect the board. Whether getting synergy stuff online or ramping to a future play, you are usually taking a turn off when playing enabler for a bigger payoff on a future turn. This doesn't hurt much to do on turn two.

As Foretold
Coalition Relic

Three mana is toeing the line but in an acceptable place. It's usually too slow for Modern unless the payoff is very high impact, but for less powerful formats it's acceptable. A three-mana enabler usually puts some pressure on a deck to interact favorably on turn two to help set it up.

Nyx Lotus
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

Four mana is far over the line for most enabler type cards. At this point your opponent has already likely built a board state and is well on their way to executing their strategy, so spending four mana to not affect the board and try and set up for the following turn is often a death sentence. Note this is why a card like Quandrix Cultivator is excellent, as the 3/4 body provides a considerable roadblock and does affect the board in a meaningful way.

Which leads us to...

Power And Toughness: 1/4

For a sassy book, Codie actually has a pretty nice butt!

Four toughness on turn three is a reasonable defensive deterrent, and while 1 power isn't much it at least will make your opponent need to think twice about attacking with a small but wide board of tokens. Four toughness also makes Codie immune to much early removal like Stomp or Lightning Bolt that would seek to keep him off the battlefield.

Because of these relevant Horned Turtle-esque stats, Codie almost feels more like a turn 2.5 enabler because he does in fact effect the board in a somewhat meaningful way.

Typeline: Legendary Artifact Creature -- Construct

Of course, Codie is an artifact creature, which makes him very easy to cast but also vulnerable to things like Prismari Command or other artifact removal. This is mostly a downside, as because of his restriction it will be hard to take advantage of any sort of artifact synergies with other artifacts. Speaking of that restriction, now's the time to address the elephant in the room.

"You can't cast permanent spells."

What's that? A drawback? On a Magic card in the year 2021?

I couldn't believe it either! But here we are, with a drawback that feels reminiscent of the deck-building restrictions seen on the Ikoria companions (Yorion, Sky Nomad and friends).

Not being able to play permanents is of course a fairly large commitment. No other creatures, no planeswalkers, no artifact acceleration, no enchantments. However, it's important to note that this is not an actual deck-building restriction. We can still put these card types into our deck, but we just can't cast them if Codie is out. If Codie is in play and active we're already going to be in a great spot, so having some sort of backup plan isn't out of the question.

Okay, get out those reading glasses.

4, {T}: Add wubrg. When you cast your next spell this turn, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile an instant or sorcery card with lesser mana value. Until end of turn, you may cast that card without paying its mana cost. Put each other card exiled this way on the bottom of your library in a random order.

That's a fittingly wordy ability for a walking book, so let's go through it step by step:

4, {T}: Add wubrg.

The first thing Codie does is turn four generic mana into five mana, one of each color.

Note that is not just a filter, as it turns four mana into five mana meaning that Codie is a sneaky ramp spell. A turn three Codie will allow you to play a five mana instant or sorcery on turn four, and this is a big deal! Codie is not only an engine but also a reasonable mana fixer and mana rock. It's important to note also that this mana does not need to be used to cast spells; if you have activated abilities or other things to do with the mana it can be used for any of those as well.

This of course also means that in Commander or Brawl that Codie has a five-color color identity, which is also pretty sweet.

When you cast your next spell this turn, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile an instant or sorcery card with lesser mana value. Until end of turn, you may cast that card without paying its mana cost.

A lot of words, but in essence it gives spells you cast cascade for instants and sorceries.

Bloodbraid Elf

As anyone who has played Bloodbraid Elf before will attest to, cascade is an insane ability. It not only generates card advantage, as now every spell you cast will be two in one, but also creates phenomenal tempo as you essentially get a free Dark Ritual to cast the spell for free. It's also important to note that the spell does not to be cast at that exact moment; you may play it at some later point in the turn.

This is a monumentally huge payoff.

Every turn Codie is in play and you can cast any instant or sorcery, you are gaining two very important advantages, and any tempo you may have given up on turn three you will very quickly gain back. This effect and ability to catch back up very quickly, when added to the fact that Codie is relatively durable and defensive, is well worth the effort.

So, what kind of spells are we looking to cast with Codie?

The big need here is to lean toward cards that effect the board in some way. We can't really play sweeper effects that would kill our own Codie, so instead we want big spells that have a big impact on the board. This means removal, but it can also mean the creation of creature tokens. If we play some sort of card draw spell, and cascade into another sort of card draw spell that doesn't impact the board, we may fall too far behind for Codie to catch us back up. We also want to fixate on spells that cost five and four mana, as the biggest mana tempo value will be if we can cast a five mana spell on turn four that cascades into a four mana spell for a total of nine mana worth of spells cast.

Lorehold Command
Starnheim Unleashed
Experimental Overload

In Standard, Lorehold Command is one of the best available options that fits all of these roles. It can clean up a board, make a token, gain life, while also being aggressive if it needs to be. Four mana token makers like Experimental Overload and Starnheim Unleashed are excellent things to cascade into. Starnheim Unleased is particularly good because of how well it scales later into the game. You can foretell on turn two, play Codie on turn three, and then cast it for two angels and a cascade on turn four which is an amazing sequence.

Alrund's Epiphany

Alrund's Epiphany, one of the surprise sleepers from Kaldheim, also plays amazingly with Codie due to the nature of how Time Warp effects work. Time Warp effects are specifically good when you have other things in play, but that's not always an easy thing to accomplish. However, if you cast Alrund's Epiphany off of Codie, you are guaranteed to cast another spell as well and go into your extra turn with a lot of material in play as well as another Codie activation!

Here is the Standard Jeskai version of a Codie deck I played right here earlier this week for my video article to give you some ideas:

While this is a Standard deck, you can really apply all of these principles to any format you want to play Codie in. Don't fall behind, make sure you effect the board with your cascades, and have a plan for the games where your opponent is able to deal with Codie.

Codie, Vociferous Codex

Codie, Vociferous Codex may look like a silly card, but there's heaps of power contained in his studious frame. Because he is both colorless and fixes for any color of mana, the colors you can play and spells you can cast with him really are almost limitless. I imagine we'll see various Codie decks across various formats over the years, as he's a fun build around with some serious chops!

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